On this day in Hip Hop history music was changed forever as gangsta rap pioneers NWA released their debut LP, Straight Outta Compton. With this single album, NWA skyrocketed themselves, the West Coast, and gangsta rap to household name status, creating a wave that 28 years later is still going strong.
Aside from being an amazing album, what Straight Outta Compton brought with it was a cultural shift. During the 1980s Hip Hop was still in its early stages. Majority of the artists topping Hip Hop charts at the time were either Afrocentric rappers whose social opinions were prominent in their music or DJs and B-Boys making tracks to beat box, break dance, and party to. What NWA did with their debut was create a lane for street knowledge in mainstream Hip Hop. Like never before, NWA focused on narratives that depicted some of the most gruesome details of the ‘hood, bringing the danger of South Central Los Angeles to the living rooms of America. NWA’s violent disposition and unapologetic attitude toward any opposition became music’s biggest taboo, giving the group the pop culture spotlight. Their style became the new trend, replacing the Adidas jumpsuits of old with Los Angeles Raiders gear and snap backs ringing in the beginning of the West Coast’s strong arm influence of 90s Hip Hop culture.
NWA’s gang-banging, gun-toting image didn’t go over well with all who encountered it. Since their debut single the group had been met with controversy over the vast majority of their lyrics. NWA had made enemies ranging from elected official to suburban housewives thanks to their “offensive” lyrics. This opposition led to the boycott of the album by large groups of concerned parents and government officials. Throughout the United States radio stations and record stores were lobbied to seize their support of NWA and discontinue and sale or play of the album on the air.
Although persistent, the efforts of the opposition came at no avail and Straight Outta Compton peaked at #37 on the Billboard 200 chart selling over one million copies in the year of its release. The album went down as one of the most popular Hip Hop albums of the 80’s and even received a commercial revival in 2015 with the release of the NW biopic of the same name. Now with over three million copies sold and chart appearances across the globe, Straight Outta Compton has grown to be one of the most known albums of Hip Hop and NWA a household name.
For every great moment, there’s a song that goes with it. We believe this is the SOUNDTRACK OF YOUR LIFE – SOL REPUBLIC.